Starting a mural project with four Middle School students I relied heavily on the Earth Force structure and curriculum. We began by walking around the neighborhood looking for assets and issues in Park Hill and followed it up by creating our ideal community that included not only the great things that Park Hill has, such as Smiley Middle School, but also some things that we wish there were more of, such as parks and farmers markets. The group dynamic relaxed once we got to know each other but the structure helped me keep the project moving.
During breaks we played tennis, basketball, or walked to the local market to grab some snacks. This not only kept the students spirits high, but also let the paint dry between coats. Our end result went through multiple changes after revaluating what we could and could not do with spray paint but I feel that it was a project in which everyone had a say in the creation and execution. Years from now students can come back and point out what they sketched, taped up, spray painted, and sharpied as well as how their community has changed since the mural was completed; which was my ultimate goal.
By Jessica Beegle